Feeding the multitudes

Every summer we have a party for the students, staff, and friends of the Clarion West writer’s workshop, and this year it was yesterday. As the workshop is 6 weeks long, we have our party at the end of the fourth week — this acts a sort of a seventh-inning stretch for the students, who perhaps have scarcely seen the great outdoors since they arrived in Seattle.  I make my Justly Famous Chicken Mole Poblano, and the guests bring salads, snacks, and desserts.

Salads are good for you

The salad at the left was made by a student who had carefully picked out the choicest things at the University District Farmers Market, and very tasty it was, too.

Should you need to feed about 50 of your closest friends, give this a try! I also have refried beans, guacamole, salsa, and grated cotija cheese available on the side.

Chicken Mole Poblano 

Serves the multitudes – leftover sauce freezes well

8 roast chickens – I buy them at Costco

8 packages of flour tortillas

1 recipe mole sauce


For the mole sauce:

4 c. chicken broth
1 c. blanched almonds

2T crushed dried hot chilis

½ c. sesame seeds

1 ½ t. ground cinnamon

¼  t.  ground cloves

½  t.  each: ground coriander seed,  ground cumin,  anise seeds

4 tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 c. raisins

4 small fresh hot chilis

1 large onion, chopped

1 T. sugar

½ t. freshly ground black pepper

2-4 squares unsweetened chocolate


In a food processor, puree 2 c. broth, almonds, dried chilis, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seed, cumin, and anise seeds. Pour into heavy large saucepan.

Puree tomatoes, raisins, fresh chilis, onion, sugar, and pepper, and add to mixture in saucepan.  Add remaining broth and 2 squares of chocolate, and bring mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Taste and add salt as needed.  After the chocolate has melted, taste to see if it needs more chocolate – I usually go with the full 4 squares as I like the deep note that it brings to the flavor.  Simmer, stirring now and then, for about 30 minutes.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Strip the meat from the chicken and tear into generous shreds, arranging artfully on two large rimmed baking sheets.  If you need to keep things warm for a while until you are ready to serve, pour the juices over the meat, loosely cover with foil, and keep in 200 degree oven.

Wrap the contents of one package of tortillas at a time in a clean dishcloth, and put in microwave for 1or 2 minutes to warm tortillas.

Arrange the serving dishes so that guests place a warm tortilla on their plate, take a portion of chicken, then drizzle the mole sauce over it generously.  Roll it up and eat, and come back for more!